How To Deal With Clear-Cut While Hiking

   03.13.18

How To Deal With Clear-Cut While Hiking

Before we begin let’s define clear-cut. This is when a timber company will cut timber in a given area.  Workers use power equipment, such as skidders and chainsaws to cut the trees, load them onto trucks, then drive the trees to the mill.

Usually what is left is bare land, thus the name, “clear-cut.”

Workers will then use power equipment to help plant pine tree saplings. With no large trees to provide shade, undergrowth takes over. Within a year or two, the area is a patch of stickers, briars, and brambles.

While hiking through forest land, it is not uncommon to exit a tree line and be faced with a wall of thorny bushes in areas of clear-cut. Rather than attempting to walk through a wide open area full of stickers, there may be an easier route.

Depending upon where the hiker entered the clear-cut area, the tall trees could possibly provide shade for part of the day. This would slow down the growth of the sticker bushes. Meaning, just outside the tree line should have less stickers than the main clear-cut area.

Attempting to cross the clear-cut when it is clearly overgrown would be an act of frustration and futility. Once the hiker gets into the overgrown area, they will find themselves overwhelmed with the lack of options. No matter which direction the person turns, there will be a wall of stickers.

If a dog is with the hiker, the animal may get tangled in the stickers, On a personal note, I saw a dog get his ears grabbed by some sticker bushes. The poor creature was whining in pain. Thankfully I was nearby and was able to get the poor dog free

Experienced dogs use to hiking in wooded areas look for the easiest route for them to take. Some of my dogs wait until I get through, then they will look for their own path.

If the hiker is heading south and breaks through the tree line, there is a good chance there will be more undergrowth than if the hiker was heading north. This is because the south looking tree line would get more sunlight than the north looking side.

So next time the reader is hiking through the woods, breaks through the tree line and sees an impenetrable wall of stickers, figure out which direction would be the best to go – right or left. Because going through the middle probably is not an option.

Think about the sun, and which side of the clear-cut tree line would get the most sunlight. Chances are the south side will be easier to travel. Walk just outside the treeline, and there should be an area where the stickers have not taken over.

Hiking clear-cut
Shade from the tree line helps keep undergrowth down.
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